Safe Exercise Plan During Pregnancy
Limit your exercise if you have :
- pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
- early contractions
- vaginal bleeding
- premature rupture of your membranes, also known as your water (the fluid in the amniotic sac around the fetus) breaking early
Many women enjoy dancing, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, Pilates, biking, or walking. Swimming is especially appealing, as it gives you welcome buoyancy (floatability or the feeling of weightlessness). Try for a combination of cardio (aerobic), strength, and flexibility exercises, and avoid bouncing.
Many experts recommend walking. It's easy to vary the pace, add hills, and add distance. If you're just starting, begin with a moderately brisk pace for a mile, 3 days a week. Add a couple of minutes every week, pick up the pace a bit, and eventually add hills to your route. Whether you're a pro or a novice, go slowly for the first 5 minutes to warm up and use the last 5 minutes to cool down.
Exercise to avoid
avoid any activities that include:
- jarring (anything that would cause a lot of up and down movement)
- a sudden change of direction
- a risk of abdominal injury
Typical limitations include contact sports, downhill skiing, scuba diving, and horseback riding because of the risk of injury they pose.Kegel Exercise
Although the effects of Kegel exercises can't be seen from the outside, some women use them to reduce incontinence (the leakage of urine) caused by the weight of the baby on their bladder. Kegels help to strengthen the "pelvic floor muscles" (the muscles that aid in controlling urination).
Kegels are easy, and you can do them any time you have a few seconds — sitting in your car, at your desk, or standing in line at the store. No one will even know you're doing them!
To find the correct muscles, pretend you're trying to stop urinating. Squeeze those muscles for a few seconds, then relax. You're using the correct muscles if you feel a pull. Or place a finger inside your vagina and feel it tighten when you squeeze. Your doctor can also help you identify the correct muscles.
A few things to keep in mind when you're doing Kegel exercises:
- Don't tighten other muscles (stomach or legs, for example) at the same time. You want to focus on the muscles you're exercising.
- Don't hold your breath while you do them because it's important that your body and muscles continue to receive oxygen while you do any type of exercise.
- Don't regularly do Kegels by stopping and starting your flow of urine while you're actually going to the bathroom, as this can lead to incomplete emptying of your bladder, which increases the risk of urinary tract infections.